I was lucky enough to attend a fantastic and inspirational talk at University on Monday called 'Dream Big and Get It Done' by Ben Coomber. It started off with a slide which said 'If your dreams don't scare you, they are not big enough'. I thought this was a fantastic way to get people thinking and it was then followed up by a talk on how to be more awesome. It was really inspiring and made me re-evaluate what my dreams really were and what I really want to do.
Bizarrely, the first thing it made me do was come home and have a massive tidy up of my room as it was a total mess and I realised it was not helpful to a constructive working environment (I think mum is wishing I had that reaction to things more often, as in actually tidy up!!). So with a now (mostly) tidy room and a plan of action, I am ready to take on my final year of University alongside competing my amazing horses!
It has been extremely busy since I last wrote as I am Vice Captain of the Uni riding team and we have had team tryouts and various organisational things going on alongside my lectures starting up and beginning to sort out my dissertation, plus having my three horses to ride, going to the gym twice a week, and playing hockey twice a week.. I like to keep busy!
Oscar has had an intensive boot camp and is now officially an event horse. On the 25th of September we headed round to Littleton to pop round the show jumps and get him out somewhere different. He jumped round an 80cm course easily so we put a few fences up and squared up a couple of the oxers, which made him think and he made a few mistakes but improved massively as a result, you can see some of the pictures below. We were then back at Littleton on the Saturday morning to have a play on the Cross Country course, he was so much more grown up than the last time we took him and finished up jumping the two big trakenehs and the blue wagon really neatly and he was so up for it. We decided not to run Coco at South of England on the Sunday and therefore Oscar got dragged out again, this time to go on hound exercise with the bloodhounds. He was fantastically behaved, waited when he needed to wait, galloped when he needed to gallop and walked on a long rein inbetween. He also jumped really well, so if he doesn't make an eventer, he will be an awesome hunter!
My week then got more exciting as I got to start riding Lily for the first time since the end of June. She was very happy to be back out, and although walking 20minutes on the road is fairly boring, she is just happy to be doing something again, so she will build up slowly over the winter with the aim of getting her back out eventing in the spring.
The following weekend I took Oscar to Munstead Hunter Trial to do the 80cm pairs with Nathalie George so he got the idea and then the 90cm on his own as a practice. Mum woke up really ill on the Sunday morning so I headed off on my own, knowing that I knew lots of people there if anything was to go wrong. Oscar was such a pleasure to handle and get ready and I did it all on my own. He was fab round the pairs, very bold and rolling on behind Nats and Bobby. He then had a little snooze in the lorry before the 90. He shot out the start box and over the first before realising he was on his own and didn't have a friend coming with him. However, I kept asking the questions and he kept answering and I was delighted to come home clear with him growing in confidence the whole way round. You can see the picture below.
Our next outing was with the two bay boys to Coombelands BS. Coco was jumping in the Foxhunter and the 1.25m open and Oscar was jumping the British Novice on a ticket. Coco felt awesome and was unlucky to pick up an early 4 faults in both rounds, but luckily as it was single phase, he got to jump the jump off and just cruised round. You can see the rounds by CLICKING HERE. He will be having a crack at the 1.25m and 1.30m next time! I assumed Oscar would go a bit green and spooky, so I was being ultra positive, however he was so bold and I slightly over rode him, ending up with 3 down, which wasn't a true reflection of his round. But you can see it for yourself by CLICKING HERE.
This weekend was Oscar's eventing debut at the inaugural Littleton Manor Horse Trials. Firstly I must say it was a fantastically set up event and they coped amazingly with the few teething problems they have. However, I know that it is only going to get better and better as time goes on. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend I spent there! It was fairly bizarre hacking to an event, plaited up and in my competition kit - I did get a few slightly odd looks. Oscar found the dressage warm up rather to exciting to cope with and we did lots of leaping around. But, he settled down and although he was a little tense during the test, he tried really hard to keep his concentration on me and not everything else that was going on. He did a nice test and was rewarded with a mark of 30.8. We then hacked home as we had a decent gap before our show jumping. So after retacking up and hacking back over, we were ready to jump.. He warmed up well and I went in feeling cautiously optimistic. He jumped a lovely round, just slightly losing attention at an upright where you ran quite close to the banners round the edge, but he felt really classy. A quick kit change and we were off to the cross country. It was a tough course, causing plenty of trouble and I had realised at this point I may have just bitten off a bit more than I could chew.. But some positive words with Chris Kirby at the start, something along the lines of:
Chris: 'You are going to come back, aren't you'
Me: 'Yup, the horses is being left here if not!'
He jumped out the startbox and was a bit wobbly but popped the first, however I could feel him becoming a bit overwhelmed as he left his friends and headed towards the unknown. The second fence was really spooky as it had Haygain hay soakers in it, and I think he decided they were going to open up and steam him. However with Chris' words in my head and all the determination I could find, we turned round for another go.. He jumped it and never looked back after that. He was a bit green and wobbly but he kept going and kept answering the questions which I am delighted about. He never through in the towel, despite being rather shell shocked over the whole thing, and grew in confidence. You can see the video by CLICKING HERE. It was lovely to have Oscar's owner up to stay for the weekend to watch and help us out. I am really excited about Oscar's future as he will make a fantastic event horse once he has got a bit more experience! He is so straight, genuine and bold.. Just need some more match practice now!
He is off to Tweseldown Hunter Trial on Sunday to do the 90cm and consolidate last weekend before him and Coco are going to Coombelands BS again on Wednesday and then our last event of the season next weekend at Aldon with Coco for the CIC2*. I am so excited and then we will settle down for a winter of training and come out even better next spring!!
That's all for now